Nonviolent Communication

I want to give a shout out to Michael Collins for sharing this content with me. It has already impacted my life in a hugely positive way in less than 2 weeks time!

I recently watched this 3 hour workshop on nonviolent communication and, wow, what insights have been had through this way of communicating with people. It basically boils things down to all humans have feelings and needs and are simply trying to get them fulfilled. All human beings are ever saying is “please” and “thank you”. Our language and way of thinking has distorted this simple concept in a twisted way. Everyday we could be playing a game called “make life wonderful”, but instead we are taught to play “who is right”. We value being right over being happy and that can be seen in the way we judge others and in our system of rewards and punishments. We reward those who are “right” and punish those who are “wrong”. This is the most ridiculous way of expressing and fulfilling our needs, yet we play this game every single day.

NVC is based on the assumption that people naturally like to give because it makes them feel good. I tend to believe this is true, although in extreme cases like with a psychopath it may not be so. When our needs are fulfilled, there is nothing more that we enjoy than giving freely. The reality is that most people are not getting all or even most of their needs fulfilled and it goes back to playing the game of “who is right” instead of “make life wonderful”.

If I’m being honest, pretty much all of my needs are being fulfilled at the moment. All I can think about is how I want to help others in some way. Whenever I see people lash out or act “negatively” in some manner, all I can see is that their needs aren’t being fulfilled in some way. Anytime you have a conflict or argument with someone, ask yourself if you are playing the game “who is right” instead of “make life wonderful”. More often than not, we evaluate and judge every situation we are in instead of simply observing. We place our moralistic judgments above our needs and the needs of those around us. Every single interaction you have with any person each and every day is a chance to “make life wonderful” for both parties. Every single small interaction you have with strangers or loved ones is a chance to make a difference in their lives. Every interaction is a huge opportunity to be able to get both needs fulfilled in some way. It’s not guaranteed, and in fact, the way we are taught it’s usually win-lose or even lose-lose; but every single interaction with another human is a chance for it to be win-win in some way, even if you are unable to fulfill that person’s need, even helping them see what their need is and that you can empathize with them is a huge win.

I’m going to go off on a tangent, but NVC has helped me see some of these issues more clearly when focusing on feelings and needs. I used to have really bad anger issues. I can now see a huge part of this was having an inflated ego, but also placing being right above all else. I wanted to be right more than I wanted to be happy and only now can I see how miserable I really was. When people would cut me off in traffic I would get hugely offended and pissed off and take it personally. The thing is, humans are imperfect. We all make mistakes, small and big. When you can see each situation for what it really is, it takes out the anger and negative emotion and being personally hurt. The person cut me off for whatever reason, whether they misjudged, are in a hurry, are a bad driver, or countless other reasons – it doesn’t really matter. The situation happened and passed and there is nothing I can do to change what happened. That is fact. All that’s left is how I react. And now, instead of reacting with anger or getting hurt, I say to myself, “that happened (for whatever reason), but it’s ok”. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the nonviolent communication, but it has helped me to see situations for what they truly are and to boil everything down to feelings and needs.

Another thing it has helped me to see clearly is how every single human interaction we have with others is really a reflection on us. Our actions show us what kind of person we truly are. I used to be “a person who gets angry when getting cut off in traffic”. I have made a conscious decision to no longer identify as that person. How often do people get upset or feel the need to be right or place their ego above all else? How many times have you seen a person get mad at a fast food worker when their order is wrong or at a customer service rep on the phone? You are essentially saying “I am a person who gets mad at low level employees and things out of my control”. I can think of countless situations where people make a choice to act a certain way, but it really is a reflection of themselves.

This used to be who I identified as:

  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when others are wrong and I am right
  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when others don’t agree with me
  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when things don’t go MY way
  • I am a person who places being right over being happy

Notice all of these identities are through my own thoughts and actions. My choices make up who I am as a person. Every single day I have a choice to identify as the above person but instead I have chosen to shift my identity to:

  • I am a person who places the happiness and needs of myself and others above all else
  • I am a person who doesn’t judge others, even if I don’t agree with them
  • I am a person who doesn’t react to “bad” situations or when things don’t go my way because I will eventually find a way to get my needs fulfilled
  • I am a person who is not dependent on a single outcome and can see the bigger picture

Keep in mind again, WE decide and identify with the kind of person we truly are. Not other people. I don’t care if someone spits in your face (Atticus Finch is a fucking bad ass!) or wrongs you in some way, how you react to the situation is still up to you and you are choosing to identify with the person you are. Here are some examples maybe some people can relate to:

  • I am a person who yells at their kids or gets upset when they don’t do what I want.
  • I am a person who argues with other people (or even partner!) because I think will be able to change them
  • I am a person who takes things personally when someone else judges or criticizes me
  • I am a person who judges and criticizes others

We choose to be the people we identify as through our thoughts and actions. Things will happen to us both good and bad, and there will be nothing we can do to change what happened. All we can control is how we will react to what happened and that will determine the kind of person we are.

Went off on a bit of a tangent, but NVC has helped me to see the world and people for what they truly are. We all have feelings and needs and are just trying to get them fulfilled. When you simplify things in such a manner, it makes getting everyone’s needs fulfilled so much easier. Everyday we have the power to “make life wonderful” and I hope we all will choose to do so.

Payments and Happiness

I bought my wife her first smartphone yesterday which she is totally digging.  I got it for $100 on ebay, it is a galaxy s4 mini.  When we went to the ATT store, the new S7 was $800 bucks, but since the payment plans seem so reasonable at around $20-30 a month depending on the term, you don’t think anything of it.  Which has lead me to this post…

Specifications-wise, unless you are a true tech junkie or NEED to take HD photos for your photography business or something, most “current” smartphones work just fine for the average user.  My s4 active is still going strong despite the diagonal crack in the screen.  I compared it to the S7 at the store and response time was very close, maybe the S7 would shave a second or two off of loading a page or whatever, have more pixels and a slightly better camera.

The point I am trying to make is the interesting human desire to have the latest and greatest things. ATT got smart with this new payment system. Once you feed yourself into the system, you are, in essence, making payments for life. It’s similar to people needing a big tv, and leasing a car, etc. Just keep making payments for life instead of owning things outright.

ATT got smart because nowadays, sadly, most people cannot just plop down $800 for a phone. But they can make payments. Even (bad) banks will look at how much people can pay, ignoring the true cost of owning a home.

Most people will not become rich because of this desire of having the latest and greatest, instead of being happy with what they have. This is a mindset issue, and a money issue secondarily.  Could I have bought an S7 for me and laura both and paid cash on the spot? Easily. But by not even having the desire for the latest and greatest, being happy with my cracked S4 phone, it helps me make better life decisions all around, whether financial or personal.

People have to learn to be happy with themselves and their current situation. They must completely realize it, accept it, and only then will they be in a position to get more.  The ironic thing is once they are in that position, they will find themselves not wanting it.

Even in MJ Demarco’s book, the Millionaire Fastlane, his goal was to buy a lambo, and he did. While the desire did help fuel his work ethic, eventually he sold it, when he realized he didn’t even want it anymore. To me this is a big leap in mindset, to be happy with what you have, letting go of your ego and the desire to show off, look cool, etc.

Most people go through these stages of life of an insecure teenager seeking approval, getting older and feeling the need to show off and be important, and finally, when they’re old, realizing none of that material shit matters and really focusing down on relationships and learning to be happy with themselves.  Ideally we would get to that point much earlier in life.

I am VERY fortunate to be relatively close to that point already in my early 30’s. I had to get over my anger issues, ego, addictions, and other issues holding me back. If only more people can experience this shift in mindset at younger and younger ages, will they be able to live happier lives, free from the ego, society/media BS, and trying to please people.

This is what I want to help people achieve. I’m still not sure how I am going to do it, but I am trying to come up with this worldview on how life works, the stages of life, and various insights to help people get on the right track at whatever stage in the process they may be.  This is kind of a discombobulated, random post, but I just felt the need to post my thoughts. Once I get more organized I will be able to express myself more clearly and better get my message through to people. I know I have a lot of work to do.

My wife FINALLY got a smart phone. On April 1, 2016. An older one. I still have my old ass phone that I am happy with. What things in your life that you are constantly “upgrading” can you take a step back and realize what you have is just fine? Once you start this shift in mindset, you will, ironically, find more abundance in your life that you won’t even desire.

Epic Fail

So much for getting back into writing. My excuse is I’ve been back in town working on houses and actually getting real work done.  Also, I’m not sure if writing really resonates with me that much. It could just be an excuse, but I’m really not feeling it right now.

I’ve been a little bit conflicted lately with what I want in life.  I am at a crossroad of being comfortable vs. pushing myself. I do know that time is the most valuable thing I have and I do want the most long-term happiness possible. Especially now that I’m a father, I want to be able to spend time with Tristan and raise him properly. I see this as me settling in to being comfortable vs being vastly wealthy and successful, even if I am not living up to my potential.  I also do know that I want to help as many people as I can in whatever way I can. I’m not yet sure how I am going to do this or the medium which I will use – like blogging, podcasts, webinars, a life-changing product or service, etc.  I feel that if I continue growing as a person and being open to all the universe has to offer, everything will happen in its own perfect time and place.

For now, I’m going to continue on the path I’m on, and I am happy with that decision. I am definitely open to other possibilities, but right now I am very happy and am enjoying life to the fullest. A big thing myself and others get caught up with is comparing ourselves to others. I don’t do it too much, but I need to look within for my own purpose. I am on the right path and doing well so for now I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing. I do want to keep blogging on here, but no one really reads it so perhaps more of a personal journal kinda thing.

Oh and one last thing, I did upload all my old xanga posts on here, so if you want to read some cringeworthy stuff, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come as a person.

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

I want to talk about how I recently flip-flopped on an issue that I had held strongly for many years.  I used to get upset with people who complain about their lives or their problems in general.  I would declare that we live in the best time in all of human history, and have it amazing compared to generations past. Running water, anesthetics, literally all of human knowledge in our pockets – we indeed live in an amazing time.  I used to compare how humans used to have to plow the field all day and pray the crops would survive so they could feed themselves.  People toiled all day to barely survive.  Before that, in the medieval days, people couldn’t even own land/real estate.  It all belonged to the king. There was no way you would ever get rich unless you were born into it.

I would compare our modern day “paradise” to those difficult days and get pissed about how anyone could complain about their lives.  Even poor people in the US can get food stamps to survive, section 8 housing assistance, and still have modern day comforts.  Why are these people unhappy and complaining?  Why why why?? I would ask myself and get upset over this and feel right on this issue.

I recently “flip-flopped” on this issue and feel that we actually live in a very difficult era, just difficult in a different way. Instead of struggling to survive, people are struggling to find purpose in their lives. Surviving is quite basic, similar to animals. Finding meaning and purpose and achieving self-actualization; these are more advanced tasks that require significantly more effort and brain power.

The problem is most people are average.  Think back to stats in college at the standard bell curve. The vast majority are quite ordinary people, yet we now have the ability to see the absolute best humanity has to offer.  Just browse around on Youtube and you can find incredible musicians, people who engage in extreme sports, and the pinnacle of human achievement. You can find amazing artists and people making a huge impact on the world. Then you do what everyone does, you compare. You say I’ll never be able to accomplish even a fraction of what these amazing people have done, and you shut down.

It’s not just the best of the best, it’s also your peers and people you grew up with. Facebook is a true double edged sword in that it is can be an awesome tool for staying connected and a platform to lead by example. It can also be a very depressing place because everyone is putting their best versions of themselves on there, and again we compare. We tend to measure ourselves against those around us, and if we are falling behind or not achieving as much, it will bring us down.

There is so much distraction in the modern world; endless entertainment – access to every TV show, movie, music, ever created.  Video games, junk food, modern day comforts and a society that demands everything at a moments notice.  What people have forgotten is the process.  It takes a lot of time and effort to become good at something. People tend to forget this in our instant everything world and will give up when they don’t see immediate results. We all want everything right now, whether that is the miracle diet pill, get rich quick scheme, or perfect relationship.

This deux ex machina event is very unlikely to happen, and even when it does, we throw it away. Look at past lottery winners and most of them have pissed away millions of dollars in an extremely short time. Find that perfect partner without accepting yourself, and you will quickly alienate them as you will feel there must be something wrong with them for being attracted to you, when you don’t accept yourself completely or put in the work to be a person of value.

So with all this going on around us, most people are just stuck. Whether that is analysis paralysis in trying to find their “passion” (when many studies have shown that passion only comes AFTER proficiency at something – check out Cal Newport’s writings) fear of failure, or just plain laziness and being too comfortable living in mom’s basement, I have indeed changed my mindset on this issue.  Nowadays people have it way harder than in the past.  Those were “simple” times. Keep your nose down, get the work done and don’t question authority. Nowadays people have endless options for what to do with their lives and access to all of human knowledge to achieve it. So if people have all the information and generally want to make something of themselves, why do most people fail to achieve their hopes and dreams?

A big part is, like I mentioned earlier, fear. Albeit irrational fear, but we are conditioned at a young age that failure is a bad thing, when we should be seeing it as a learning experience. Another big part of it is people don’t realize that it takes time to learn a skill, improve yourself, or change your mindset. It’s the little actions everyday that add up to the final product years later. If people were to read just 10 pages a day of a life-changing book, after 1 year that would be 3650 pages. That would likely be over 10 books of life-changing, reality-shattering, mind-blowing information. 10 pages a day. That is NOTHING. Yet most won’t do it. It’s the little things daily and creating good habits that will help people get on the path of achieving their goals.  There is no instant result for this in our current society who worships getting everything now now now.

Worthiness

I have made a goal to write way more often and just want to improve my writing in general as well as get into the habit of writing.  I’m shooting for 25 min per day minimum and also plan on incorporating the Pomodoro method into my life to increase my productivity.  I’m not sure how I will have enough topics to write about, but I am planning to pump them out, whatever topic they may be.  I understand the articles may be a bit unorganized and scatterbrained, but since I am just writing on the fly, I hope I can maintain some sort of structure.

Today I wanted to talk about worthiness.  I honestly feel that a lot of people do not meet various goals in their lives because they feel unworthy of achieving them.  Let’s start with one of the biggest desires and wants people have – the desire for more money.  Ask literally anyone on the street if they’d accept 100k right there on the spot with no strings attached, and I’d say everyone would say yes.

The problem is that while pretty much everyone wants more money, they couldn’t handle a large sum like that and would most likely spend it.  Deep down they would feel unworthy and undeserving of the money, and would spend it all to return to homeostasis.  Generally speaking, the more money you have, the more VALUE you have provided to the world.  Simply looking at jobs, there’s a reason why doctors and engineers make more money than cashiers and floor sweepers – they are providing a more valuable skill to the world and are thus worthy of greater compensation.  The same can be said about the richest people in the world.  They have provided a valuable product or service that has helped millions of people in some way.  Whether that’s writing books about a teenage wizard, developing a software company, or creating a social platform online; these billionaires are worthy of their riches.  They have given an insane amount of value to millions upon millions of people the world over.

Do you think the cashier who lives in mom’s basement and plays games all day feels truly worthy and deserving of a large sum of money?  Even if he were to win the lottery, do you think he would be able to hold on to, or even increase his winnings?  Highly doubtful as he would not feel worthy of the money and would do whatever means necessary (spend it) to revert back to the status quo.

The same can be said about relationships.  Let’s say you are someone who is very socially anxious, and has never had a girlfriend.  Again, you stay in your parents basement playing games day and night, are extremely overweight and are mildly depressed. Let’s say an amazing person somehow drops into your lap, is drop-dead gorgeous, fun to be around, amazing personality, the total package, and this person falls madly in love with you.  Even if you go along with it at first, eventually you would think to yourself, “why does this person love me?” You would begin to question their love because you would feel unworthy of it.  You have nothing to offer them.  Nothing of value.  You would eventually either directly or sub-consciously sabotage the relationship because you would feel unworthy of this person.

Most people want to blame someone or something else for their problems.  They blame their parents, society, the government, the media, being bullied or abused at a young age, growing up poor, and on and on.  While most people do have some skeletons in the closet, the key is total acceptance

When it comes to feeling worthy of any of our wants and desires, we must first and foremost be completely accepting of ourselves.  If we do not love ourselves fully and without reservation, how can we expect anyone else to do likewise? Even if you are not your ideal self now, you must be fully accepting of who you are, where you are in life, and have a positive vision of your life for the future. You must let go of the past and accept where you are in this present moment.  Just by making the decision to take full responsibility of your life situation, you will be in the position to better your life.

I know it’s way easier said than done. It’s incredibly difficult to get over your personal issues and most people never fully will. The thing you need to understand is that you are worthy of love, if you can come to love yourself. Striving to be the best version of yourself will put you in a better mindset to feel worthy of accepting all the things you want in life.  For people to achieve the goals in their lives, a huge part of that is having the proper mindset in order to do so.  Mindset is key.  Having the right mindset can pull you from your bootstraps out of a life of misery, but that is a deeper topic for another day.

TAN: For now, just get in the habit of practicing daily affirmations.  Look into the mirror and tell yourself, “I am worthy of love, and I accept myself where I am at completely.”  I know it sounds a bit silly, but by doing this you will start to change the negative thought patterns that go through your head.  What we tell ourselves whether out loud or in our heads is incredibly important.  The universe is completely unbiased; whether you fill your subconscious with positive or negative thoughts, they will literally create the reality you live in and I have seen it in my own life and others directly. This is not some new age frou frou crap. This is a fact and I can point to countless real-life examples. Your thoughts are incredibly powerful.  Once you begin to shift your mindset, you will get to the point will you will feel worthy of receiving your greatest desires.  And you will attract them into your life.